Joint Research Office


Funding calls announced as anti-microbial resistance initiative officially launched

20 February 2020

A UCL, UCLH and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) initiative to tackle anti-microbial resistance (AMR) has announced two funding calls at its official launch this week.

The Precision AMR initiative led by UCL’s Prof Judy Breuer will fund infrastructure, salaries, technical support, patient and public involvement projects and more.

Researchers can now apply for seed funding for projects working to improve tests and treatments to prevent the spread of AMR, with up to 20 projects receiving up to £16,000 each. The deadline for submitting applications  is 1 May.  Help with designing and submitting projects is available from the Precision AMR team. Find out more.

Separately, clinical lab scientists can apply for funding from UCLH/HSL to spend on training to develop their skills and capabilities in the lab which will benefit AMR research, and for attendance at conferences.

The Precision AMR initiative is funded by a £3.3m grant from the Department of Health and Social Care. It aims to improve tests for AMR, ensure treatment with the right doses and combination of drugs, and prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant infections. Prof Peter Wilson said key questions to answer were:

  • Can we find a method of rapid, affordable and accurate screening of multi-drug resistant organisms?
  • How long does the carriage of resistant organisms last, and can the organisms be eradicated?
  • How exactly does transmission of these organisms occur?
  • Can we detect contamination of a room or building quickly enough to make sure the area is cleaned in time?
  • Does the use of multiple antibiotics delay the development of AMR? And what are the optimal doses and combinations of drugs for different organisms?

A key part of the initiative will be to apply artificial intelligence to understand and optimise prescribing practices and the management of patients with drug-resistant infections.

This approach will involve the analysis of vast amounts of data contained in electronic patient records – which is difficult for researchers to interpret manually.

The grant will also support the development of new diagnostic tests including point of care tests and linking laboratory data to electronic patient records to improve the antimicrobial prescribing.

In recent years there has been a rise of infection-causing organisms which resist all antibiotics, and there is now an urgent need for new antibiotics, and new ways to use existing antibiotics.

At the official launch of the initiative at the Wellcome Collection, Prof Judy Breuer said the initiative aims to spur a whole new era of AMR research at UCL, UCLH, GOSH – with support from the UCL-affiliated Biomedical Research Centres – and beyond to address these challenges.

Visit the Precision AMR website.